Saturday, May 31, 2008

From Springwise:

"Earlier this year we wrote about nvokh, a crowdfunded and crowdmanaged eco clothing company. Now BeerBankroll is taking a similar approach to the creation of a new, community managed brewery.

The British company has only partially fleshed out its site, but BeerBankroll aims to start a brewery and pub in which many of the key decisions are made by members. It is currently recruiting a minimum of 50,000 members, each of whom will contribute USD 50 in exchange for voting rights on ideas such as the company name, logo, product design, product mix, marketing plan, advertising and sponsorship. Once BeerBankroll has raised USD 100,000 after administration and overhead costs, it plans to begin discussions with a consulting firm—chosen by members' votes—which will then play a guiding role for the community. Assuming the concept goes well, profits will be divided three ways: one part to members in the form of reward points redeemable for products from the Beer Bankroll store; one part back to the company; and one part to charity.

BeerBankroll says it has no set timetable for achieving its milestones, preferring instead to leave that up to members. The company's FAQs do state that "if for some reason we are unable to get a brewing company started [...], then we will take the remaining money after administration and operating costs and give it to charity."

Meanwhile, beer lovers can also join OurBrew, a very new start-up from New Zealand that has similar ambitions, but aims to work with existing breweries. Will it prove feasible for tens of thousands of people to jointly make key decisions for these two breweries-to-be? Only time will tell. However, we think there's also an opportunity here for an existing organization or financial institution that can vouch for new crowdfunded projects and safeguard pre-funding money until the minimum amount of funds have been collected, return it to members if the project doesn't come to fruition."

Friday, May 30, 2008

From one of my favourite websites, Slashfood:

There's a pretty interesting story in the New York Times about the prevalence of coffee "cuppings" - basically wine tastings for java, minus the spitting. Aficionados sit around discussing different roasts, trying to find the right words to describe the subtle flavors of a cup of Kenyan or Guatemalan roast.

"Now, I drink coffee every day, usually multiple cups, black. Aside from water, it's probably the single consumable I have most regularly. But while I can certainly taste the difference between the watery, acidic, sewage brown stuff sold in most gas stations and a good French roast, that's about where it ends. When people tell me they drive half an hour for special beans or they 'hate' the (to me) perfectly ordinary cappuccinos at my local cafe, I just shrug. I mean, I'm willing to believe that other people have the ability to discern flavors I can't sense. But is a bag of beans from a single farm lot discernibly different than beans from a handful of farms in the same region? In a town with dozens of independent coffee shops, is it really plausible that one has the absolute 'best' coffee?"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diageo is launching a new bottle and outer casing design for its Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur, Mint Chocolate and Crème Caramel range.

The new bottle is slightly taller yet retains the distinctive Baileys bottle shape, the company said today (29 May), while the label is designed to communicate "the heritage and authenticity" of Baileys Original Irish Cream through artwork featuring a contemporary execution of the Irish countryside.

"Our packaging is continually evolving and since the previous update to the Baileys Original Irish Cream bottle and label, we have seen the extremely successful launch of two new flavour variations, said Sharon Keith, Baileys global brand director. "We have taken the opportunity that this development presents to underpin Baileys Original Irish Cream's credentials as the original Irish cream liqueur, as well as to help consumers distinguish between Baileys Original and each of the flavours."

New flavour emblems, along with bolder artwork on the redesigned outer cases, are designed to help consumers distinguish more clearly between each variant.

"The bottle maintains the Baileys brand's classic and distinctive style that clearly communicates the brand's quality and authenticity in a contemporary way," Keith added.

The revamp follows the last re-design three years ago and will affect every Baileys' market globally.

Pernod Ricard readies UK push for Malibu

Pernod Ricard is launching a £14m two-year marketing campaign in the UK for its Caribbean rum brand Malibu.

Pernod Ricard UK said today (29 May) that the two-year plan will include TV, digital, press, radio, experiential and sampling, and will kick off with a £1.2m national TV advertising campaign to be launched on 9 June.

The 'Get Your Island On' campaign, Malibu's first new above-the-line campaign since its acquisition by Pernod, targets 18-24 year olds and encourages consumers to tap into their "infectious Caribbean mindset, and bring the light-hearted spirit and upbeat energy of the islands to their everyday lives".

The new TV ad is part of a global communications launch for the rum brand.

"Malibu is seen by its consumers as a truly iconic brand," said Jo Spencer, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard UK. "Our new advertising campaign gives Malibu the opportunity to showcase the infectious, engaging spirit which is at the heart of the brand and which is very relevant to our core target."

With cheesy disco drinks a thing of the past and dressing garish blue cocktails with sparklers a distant memory, people are waking up to the fact that the cocktail is not just a means to an end. It certainly doesn’t belong solely on your best friend's hen night or during the first week at the Freshers' week.

The cocktail has recently been going from strength to strength. After a period in the doldrums during the '80s it has found its feet again and since the Millennium the mixed drink is back, it’s here to stay and it’s a little more grown up this time with cocktail bartenders looking to chefs and sommeliers to understand flavour, balance and depth of taste, today’s cocktail is infinitely more refined than that of yesteryear.

But away from style bars or five star hotels where do your get hands on one of these delights? West Eleven cocktails was set up to look after the people who want a great drink, but not necessarily in a bar environment.

West Eleven have selected classic styles of cocktails and tweaked them to add a modern twist. The range includes the Elderflower Collins, Passionfruit Mai Tai, Blueberry Bramble, Classic Mojito and Pomegranate Cosmo. These are real cocktails in a bottle, made from the finest, freshest and most authentic ingredients. They taste as fresh and as balanced and as premium and as lovingly prepared as if the bartender was standing right in front of you. I have sampled these cocktails and have to say they are delicious!

Visit the website at and watch the cocktail ads which are like mini brand animations, very nice.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gallo Family Vineyards has released a limited-edition handbag style wine box for their White Grenach variety, which is claimed to be the UK’s most popular rose wine. Designed to be an ideal gift for parties, the clutch bag-shaped box holds the equivalent of two bottles of wine (1.5l) and it's easily into a fridge.

The wine handbag won the award for 'Best Packaging and Design' at the drinks business awards 2008.

The big wine trend for this summer looks to be Rose on the rocks. In keeping with the current trend for unusual consumption, E&J Gallo are aiming to persuade consumers to drink rose over ice with its 'Rose on the Rocks' campaign. It plans to roll out gift packs containing over-size wine glasses and an ice tray. A sponsorship tie-up with the two biggest bagged-ice makers will result in the campaign featuring on 500,000 bags. An extensive sampling push will also be rolled out over the summer months.

Sputnik Vodka Announces New Flavours Basil, Rose Petal and Horseradish.

Seeking to build on a fan base that reaches from St. Paul's to St. Petersburg, Genuine Russian Sputnik Vodka launches three versatile new flavours to orbit the chic UK drinks scene. True to the brand's pioneering spirit, Sputnik's new offering is vodkas flavoured naturally with Rose Petal, Basil and Horseradish. The new flavours will be available to UK vodka connoisseurs in June.

Sputnik Marketing Director Lenny Musatov wants to teach vodka drinkers in the UK that "there is much more to vodka drinking than simply getting a buzz. Vodka is a huge part of socialisation in Russian culture - think of it as 'tea time' Russki style. Sputnik's Basil, Horseradish and Rose Petal vodkas will complement the sophisticated British palate whilst introducing the richness of Russian traditions to the UK cocktail culture".

The inaugural flavours reinvent old favourites, allowing mixologists' creativity to run wild and encouraging the creation of as-yet unheard of cocktails and a trend towards savoury as well as sweet tipples - think Sputnik Spicy Horseradish Caipi'russkas' and Sputnik Rose Petal-politans. The new Sputnik flavours offer bartenders the option of using these naturally infused, unique blends in their drinks to provide flavours that are difficult to source naturally.

The new drinks will be some serious conversation starters, which is in line with a Russian tradition that disallows drinking in groups of less than three in order to prevent dull conversation. Only 2% of the vodkas sold in the UK are Russian, giving Sputnik the opportunity to responsibility tutor Britons in the Russian Experience of enjoying vodka as a complement to snacks. This concept is commonplace in Russia, as they know that to keep your wits about you while enjoying vodka with friends it is important to pair the drink with food.

All three flavours will be held to the same rigorous standards as Sputnik's original; the new versions of Sputnik will be triple-distilled to create Sputnik's premium signature flavour and truly Russian essence of 'zhivaya voda' (water of life). Using a closely guarded secret vodka recipe that dates to the 1890s, Sputnik is steeped in tradition. Alongside Sputnik's rich heritage is a strong desire to explore and a thirst for innovation illustrated by Sputnik's unique taste that strongly appeals to flavour-forward UK vodka fans.

The new Sputnik website aims to educate consumers about how Sputnik should be consumed to maximise the vodka experience. Similar to the Mexican ritual of salt and lime for tequila, the Russians also have a specific way of drinking their national pride. These rituals guarantee that you maximise the pure vodka taste and experience.

1. Toast
2. Exhale the breath from your lungs
3. Down your chilled vodka in one
4. Grab a slice of rye bread or snack
5. Smell it deeply
6. Then consume it

By following these steps, not only will you be walking in the footsteps of Russian forefathers, but you will also be enjoying the best that vodka has to offer.

"Extravagant Nightclub Experience and $250,000 Bejeweled 'Jagger Dagger' Debuts NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Launching this spring, the ultimate expression of "Luxury Reborn" is the Jade Jagger for Belvedere collaboration, composed of an extravagant nightclub ritual and the exclusive "Jagger Dagger." With this new initiative, Belvedere is further established as the hottest vodka -- smooth, creamy, peppery and brimming with the energy of the night.

The fabulous "Jagger Dagger," designed by rock 'n' roll legacy andcelebrated jewelry designer Jade Jagger, boasts an 18-carat white gold hiltstudded with 12 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 42 stunning pieces ofpale sapphire and is inlaid with a central blue lapis lazuli square sittingabove the blade. The Jagger Dagger's handle is bound with a twisted thread of white gold and crowned with a giant moonstone and lapis lazuli bead. A limited number of these ultimate ice daggers will be created, eachwith a retail value exceeding $250,000. The Jagger Dagger's blade iscrafted from mirror-polished carbon steel and adorned with an engraving ofthe delicate frosted tree branches that decorate the Belvedere bottleitself. These precious ice daggers will be sold at a select number ofworld-famous retailers, including Harrods in London. A range ofidentical-looking daggers-studded with 12 carats of white topaz, 42 piecesof stunning aquamarine and valued at $10,000 each -- will also be availableat exclusive retailers for trendsetting party-goers wanting to enjoyBelvedere's "Jagger Dagger" experience for themselves. "I was excited when Belvedere asked me to design this ice pick forthem," says Jade Jagger. "I drew my inspiration from medieval daggers andworked with the finest stones to create the pieces, which are fun and workto bring a pure experience to enjoying vodka."

The "Jagger Dagger" will be part of an extravagant and outrageous experience when a magnum of Belvedere is ordered at select exclusive nightclubs. Currently a trend in top European night spots, revelers can nowenjoy their Belvedere cocktails with chiseled chunks of hand-cracked ice, increasingly in demand among discerning vodka drinks. The irregularsurfaces of hand-cracked ice melt down more slowly than traditionalevenly-shaped ice cubes, keeping the vodka cold without diluting its rich taste and potency. The ritual is completed with a giant block of ice andtableside ice-picking service with the bejeweled "Jagger Dagger," providedby servers suited in Jagger's Jezebel collection. This exclusive experiencewill be available at top nightclubs around the globe -- including 1OAK inNew York, Crystal in London and VIP in Paris. "We are extremely excited about collaborating with Jade Jagger and thecreation of the Jagger Dagger," says Sergio Dias, president, BelvedereVodka. "Belvedere continues to embody true luxury and the Jagger Dagger Experience is the ultimate expression of Belvedere's commitment toinnovation that no other super-premium vodka brand can offer.

With the Jagger Dagger, we are offering consumers a unique experience that can befound nowhere else." The Jade Jagger for Belvedere collaboration launches this spring with aseries of star-studded events in the world's party capitals, starting inMumbai then moving on to New York and Los Angeles, London, Cannes (during the film festival) and ending in Ibiza during the height of party season.Jade Jagger will be in attendance at all events, along with guests chosenfrom her glamorous circle and musicians, photographers, celebrities,designers and models. About Jade Jagger Jade Jagger is the embodiment of today's true style leaders. Having carved a feted reputation as an artist, creative director and visionary jeweler, Jade Jagger was appointed creative director at Garrard, the Royaljewelers, where her dedication and design innovation saw her reach a newgeneration by revolutionizing the company's creative communication. Jade Jagger currently resides in London and Ibiza.

About the Terry Richardson Advertising Campaign The Jade Jagger for Belvedere collaboration follows the launch of thebrand's new advertising campaign, presenting Belvedere's message of LuxuryReborn to a wider public. The campaign was created and directed byavant-garde American photographer Terry Richardson. An ex-punk rockerturned fashion photographer extraordinaire, Richardson, like Jagger,embodies Belvedere's spirit of authentic artistry and luxury coupled with ago-anywhere social savvy. To mark the launch of the Jade Jagger forBelvedere collaboration, Terry has photographed Jade in a series ofstriking images, each of which will bring to life the downtown, luxury appeal of the collaboration."

This is being covered in all the newspapers and is a very clever way of getting publicity and talkability outside of the bar... but just as importantly is a great way of getting visibility and listings in luxury bars.

Check out these new ads from Absolut vodka from the advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day and art director Megan Williams.
All comes together in the TV ad see below:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From Deidre Woollard the luxury spirits expert at Luxist...

"Scotch whisky is getting more and more popular.The Scotch Whisky Association has reported that the value of exports reached a new high of £2.8b billion last year. With the rise in exports comes the demand for more and more premium bottles inspiring whisky distillers to create more and more expensive bottles. Case in point, the latest from Highland Park, a 40-year-old single malt whisky which is the oldest in their portfolio. The whisky is described as a "a balance of toffee, dark chocolate, orange zest and heather peat smokiness" and comes in an oak stained wood box with a leather booklet explaining the history of the brand. The whisky will sell for £899 per bottle. Hopefully this whisky won't get lost in transit like some of their 32-year-old single malt recently did."

From Luxist's Deidre Woollard:

"I've been to plenty of wine pairing dinners but what about a dinner based around vodka. The Zyr Vodka Maker dinner at WIld Thyme in Southampton, NY on May 16 offers an entire meal that uses the vodka infused with a variety of flavors. It starts with hors d'oeuvres paired with a classic martini; followed by a martini of scallop ceviche paired with cilantro and jalapeno infused Zyr; curry seared Ahi tuna with a cucumber peanut relish with is paired with a peanut infused Zyr; American red snapper with white asparagus spears, brown butter and pistachio paired with Zyr infused with lemon zest; seared duck breast and foie gras with peppered melon and black olive vanilla sauce paired with an aged infusion of cantaloupe and pepper Zyr martini; a sorbet of wildflower blossoms; and finishes with a caramelized banana and chocolate spring roll with roasted almond ice cream paired with something they call a banana transfusion, a puree of banana blended Zyr digestif. This unique meal costs $85 and the phone number for Wild Thyme is 631-204-0007."

Sounds delicious... but wouldn't it be so much better with some nice cognac or tequila?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Exciting news hot off the press!

We emailed Wahaca this morning with some picures showing how our chiles are getting on to see if they could tell us what type of chiles we are growing. Loyal readers will recall that we were given some chile seeds when we ate at Wahaca which we have since planted and lovingly nurtured...

Then, to our delight an email arrived from none other than the Queen of Wahaca herself... Thomasina Miers. The legend who won Master Chef! Without going into massive detail...

"They look like jalapeno from the round, wide stem...these were seeds we were giving out before Christmas. If you planted them since them, they'll be serrano chillies which are smaller and thinner...they look like jalapenos to me but you could do the taste test. Serranos should be a little hotter and have a grassier, more citrus flavour."

Wow! This is some of the most exciting news we have ever had. Thomasina even offered us the chance to write a feature for Wahaca's next newsletter!

Thank you Thomasina! We'll be round soon for that shot of tequila you mentioned!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fascinating article from the BBC that could influence some of our sampling techniques and lead to talkability.

"Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes, research by psychologists suggests.

The Heriot Watt University study found people rated the change in taste by up to 60% depending on the melody heard.

The researchers said cabernet sauvignon was most affected by "powerful and heavy" music, and chardonnay by "zingy and refreshing" sounds.

Professor Adrian North said the study could lead retailers to put music recommendations on their wine bottles.

The research involved 250 students at the university who were offered a free glass of wine in exchange for their views.

Brain theory

Four types of music were played - Carmina Burana by Orff ("powerful and heavy"), Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky ("subtle and refined"), Just Can't Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague ("zingy and refreshing") and Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook ("mellow and soft")

The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard.

Cabernet Sauvignon: All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who)
Chardonnay: Atomic (Blondie), Rock DJ (Robbie Williams), What's Love Got To Do With It (Tina Turner), Spinning Around (Kylie Minogue)
Syrah: Nessun Dorma (Puccini), Orinoco Flow (Enya), Chariots Of Fire (Vangelis), Canon (Johann Pachelbel)
Merlot: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding), Easy (Lionel Ritchie), Over The Rainbow (Eva Cassidy), Heartbeats (Jose Gonzalez)
Source: Montes wines

The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music.

The results were put down to "cognitive priming theory", where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.

"Wine manufacturers could recommend that while drinking a certain wine, you should listen to a certain sort of music," Prof North said.

The research was carried out for Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes, who plays monastic chants to his maturing wines.

Mr Montes said: "It was therefore a natural extension to link with Heriot Watt and to scientifically determine the impact that music has on how wine tastes."

Previously, Professor North conducted supermarket research which suggested people were five times more likely to buy French wine than German wine if accordion music was played in the background.

If an oompah band was played, the German product outsold the French by two to one."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Jeff Jarvis featured 'the social media sommelier' Gary Vaynerchuck in his Guardian column today and on his blog at

"Before you read this, do me a favour and go to Be prepared for a jet engine in your face. That blast of personality is Gary Vaynerchuk, a 32-year-old merchant who has made more than 450 daily wine-tasting shows online - just him, his glass and a spit bucket.

The show, with its audience of 80,000 a day, has transformed Vaynerchuk into a cultural phenomenon. He has appeared on two of the biggest TV talk shows in the US and in the Wall Street Journal and Time. His book, Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines, comes out next week and the day he announced this on his internet show, his fans immediately pushed it to No 36 on Amazon’s bestseller list. He has a Hollywood agent. He makes motivational speeches. And he has only just begun. Gary Vaynerchuk is on his way to becoming the online Oprah."

See the full article at Buzzmachine here or on the Guardian site here

Previous post on this blog about a similar idea - the Winery channel - here


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